When you think of Samson, what pops into your mind? First, we remember that he was supernaturally strong! And of course, we think of Delilah and of Samson’s adulterous sins! Then, maybe we think about his Nazarite vow and the odd fact that he wasn’t supposed to cut his hair.
But before we get to Samson, let’s get some context. Historically, the approximately three-hundred-year period of the Judges starts after the death of Joshua and extends to Israel’s first King, Saul. After Joshua, “the Israelites did what was evil in the Lord’s sight; they forgot the Lord their God and worshiped the Baals and the Asherahs. The Lord’s anger burned against Israel, and he sold them to King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram-naharaim, and the Israelites served him eight years. The Israelites cried out to the Lord. So the Lord raised up Othnielson of Kenaz, Caleb’s youngest brother, as a deliverer to save the Israelites” (Judges 3:7–9).
“The Israelites again did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. He gave King Eglon of Moab power over Israel... Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and he raised up Ehud ... as a deliverer for them” (Judges 3:12-15).
“The Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord after Ehud had died. So the Lord sold them to King Jabin of Canaan ... Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord.” So God sent Deborah as judge over Israel (Judges 4:1–4).
“The Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord handed them over to Midian seven years, and they oppressed Israel ... When the Israelites cried out to him because of Midian ...” (Judges 6:1–7), God commissioned Gideon.
“Then the Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They worshiped the Baals and the Ashtoreths, the gods of Aram, Sidon, and Moab, and the gods of the Ammonites and the Philistines. They abandoned the Lord and did not worship him. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel, and he sold them to the Philistines and the Ammonites” (Judges 10:6–7). When Israel cried out to God, He sent Jephthah as judge.
“The Israelites again did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, so the Lord handed them over to the Philistines forty years” (Judges 13:1). It was during this sad era in Israel’s history that God revealed Himself to Manoah and his wife. “You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines” (Judges 13:5, NIV). “So the woman gave birth to a son and named him Samson. The boy grew, and the Lord blessed him” (Judges 13:24).
Do you see the pattern? Do you recognize the promise?
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14, NKJV).
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.